Brown Bear

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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Another erstwhile resident of Britain is the Brown Bear. It figures in many of our legends and folktales and it is for the bear that the legendary King Arthur was named.  These lumbering giants still roamed our land until around a thousand years ago, when overhunting and the horrific but popular ‘sport’ of bear baiting finally rendered them extinct in Britain.

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Along with meat and fur, one of the major factors that inspired the hunters was fear; they are powerful creatures. Bears and wolves were the major predators and even the local lords and kings supported their eradication, offering bounty to those who killed them. Bears were historically carnivores, with their diet being 80% meat. That changed with the changing environment. By the Middle Ages, that had halved and for modern bears, meat makes up only 10-15% of their diet, though they will feed on sheep when they can, making…

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